After clinching at least a share of the Big East regular season title Saturday, No. 6 Marquette travels to Indianapolis on Tuesday night to face Butler in its final regular season road game.
Marquette (23-6, 15-3 Big East) seized a share of the conference title by hanging on for a 90-84 victory over rival DePaul at home. Kam Jones and Tyler Kolek each had 22 points and Kolek also added 14 assists, 11 of which came in the first half.
“Tyler passes the ball at a high level all the time,” Golden Eagles coach Shaka Smart said. “In the first half, you had No. 1 (Jones) bombing them in at a high level, that helps the assist numbers, too. Tyler’s as good as anyone in the country at finding teammates and putting them in a position to score.”
Despite DePaul’s strong second half, outscoring Marquette 56-41 after trailing by 21 at halftime, Marquette was able to hang on and secure its school-record 15th conference win.
Butler (14-15, 6-12) is also coming off a win against DePaul last Wednesday, finishing off a thrilling 59-58 comeback in a game where the Bulldogs were down by as many as 12 points in the second half.
Simas Lukosius had 15 points and seven boards, Ali Ali had 15 points, five boards and five assists, and Jayden Taylor added 13 points. The Bulldogs were once again without forward Manny Bates (knee), who’s status for Tuesday’s game is still up in the air.
“Well we moved a couple guys around, made adjustments as we all do,” Butler coach Thad Matta said. “But I think the biggest thing is we started making some shots. My God, in the first half we were missing layups, wide-open 3s, we were 3-for-17 from 3 tonight. But we had a better flow.”
Jones leads the Golden Eagles in scoring with 15.2 points per game followed by Olivier-Maxence Prosper at 12.5 and Kolek with 12.3. Kolek ranks second in the country in assists with 7.8 per game while Oso Ighodaro grabs 5.9 boards and blocks 1.5 shots per game.
For the Bulldogs, Taylor is out in front with 13.1 points per game, followed by Bates with 12.0 points and Lukosius with 11.4. Bates also leads with 5.7 boards and 2.0 blocks per game while Eric Hunter Jr. is averaging 1.3 steals.
This is the second of two matchups between these programs this season after Marquette took care of Butler at home, 60-52 on Feb. 4. With a win, Marquette would even the all-time series 13-13 as it has won seven of the previous nine matchups against Butler.
Additionally, with two games remaining Marquette can clinch the outright Big East regular season title either with a win against Butler or a win at home against St. John’s on Saturday. The team did not have any postgame celebration following their win over DePaul.
–Field Level Media